Today, the ESA Council met at ministerial level in Madrid to discuss the proposal of ESA’s Director General Jan Wörner for a “United Europe in Space”.
At this meeting, a joint statement on the institutional exploitation of Ariane 6 and Vega-C was signed by Jan Wörner, ESA Director General; Roberto Battiston, President at Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI); Javier Ponce, Director General at the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI); Jean-Yves Le Gall, President at the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES); Walther Pelzer, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR); and Mauro Dell’ Ambrogio, Secretary of State of the Swiss Confederation.
Through this Statement, the signatories express their full support to the European launcher industry and to Ariane 6 and Vega-C. They recognise the benefit of aggregating their institutional demand for launch services to ensure an independent, cost-effective, affordable, and reliable access to space for Europe.
The Joint Statement also establishes a high-level forum with the objective to exchange on economic and financial trends on the worldwide launch service market, launch services needs for their missions, and consolidation of a European institutional launch planning. This forum will be open to all European institutional customers of launch services and interested potential parties sharing these objectives.
Space capacities are strategically important to civil, commercial, security and defence-related policy objectives. Space is an enabler for responding to societal challenges and for stimulating job and growth creation. Europe needs to maintain a leading position in this sector. Europe’s autonomy of action in space is conditional on autonomy in accessing space.
Ariane 6 is Europe’s newest launcher, designed to extend guaranteed access to space for Europe at a competitive price. Fully versatile, it is capable of carrying out all types of missions to all orbits. It features a modular design with two versions: Ariane 62, fitted with two P120C boosters, and Ariane 64, with four. Its maiden flight is planned for mid-2020.
Vega-C is expected to debut at the end of 2019 with P120C as the first-stage motor, which will increase performance from Vega’s current 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in a reference 700 km polar orbit. The additional performance, improved avionics, mission flexibility and expanded fairing volume can capture a wider market of satellites.